The movement against plastic straws is finally getting louder with the coffee giant Starbucks announcing that it will start a trial replacing plastic straws with paper and biodegradable straws. This trial will kickstart in May in 54 Starbucks outlets across London and Manchester.
The announcement came after a Starbucks employee launched an online petition calling on her employer to ditch plastic straws. Stephanie Muttillo, a Starbucks employee from New Jersey, said, “I would like to see Starbucks, the company I work for, help lead the way to shrink our footprint on the planet. Plastic straws are too lightweight to be recycled, and often times are made out of the same plastic as styrofoam, which cannot be recycled. There are many alternatives to plastic straws. Many companies have started using compostable straws or paper straws”. Her petition received over 68,000 signatures (and counting) so far, which is the reason why Starbucks had to finally take a sustainable call and introduce the no-plastic-straw test-run.
Other companies who committed to phase-out plastic straws in their UK branches include McDonald’s, Wetherspoons and Wagamama.
Earlier this year, Starbucks announced a three-month trial, where the coffee giant introduced a 5p paper cup charge in 35 of its coffee shops across London. According to Starbucks website, within the first six weeks of this three-month trial, the reusable cup usage has increased by 156.6% in the trial stores, measured by the number of customers redeeming the 25p reusable cup discount. The percentage of customers bringing in their own cup or tumbler since the launch of this cup charge trial has increased to 5.9% in the trial stores, up from 2.2% in the same stores before the trial began. The most significant change has been in the mornings with 8.4% of customers in trial stores now using a reusable cup or tumbler (shall we say people who wake up early in the morning are more conscious citizens?). The proceeds from the 5p charge will be donated to environmental charity and behavior experts, Hubbub.
In March, Starbucks committed $10mn to bringing a fully recyclable and compostable cup to the market within three years. The move came after a campaign from a coalition of environmental organisations pressured the company to honour a decade-old pledge to introduce 100 percent recyclable coffee cups. When we demand change happens!
As consumers, we hold the power to bring change in the society and the economy. The plastic movement started with one person demanding change, and the whole world followed. With the voices getting louder, companies like Starbucks have no choice but to change their practices and be more mindful of their offerings. If we won’t ask, the companies won’t change. After all, most of them are there just to mint money and most of the times their commitment to a better society, a better planet and a better world is just a marketing gimmick. But with our demand for change, we can force them to take action and be accountable.
Just recently the luxury departmental store Selfridges announced getting rid of all single-use plastic bottles from its stores, and now Starbucks takes a step closer to sustainability, even though it took them over a decade after it committed to bringing a change. So let’s first be conscious about our choices, and then demand the companies to bring a change. Let’s together make this world a greener place!
It’s time to check out 6 Easy Ways To Reduce Your Plastic Usage.
Image via Pinterest
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